"Complex Ecologies: Micro-Evidence for Storage Landscapes in Early Bronze Age Lebanon" by Alison Damick
This dissertation presents the results of an archaeological investigation into the environmental strategies of emergent aggregated societies in coastal Lebanon over the course of the Early Bronze Age (c. 3200-2400 BCE). The Early Bronze Age marked not only the rise of large-scale urbanized polities in neighboring regions of Mesopotamia and, to a lesser extent, the Southern Levant, but it took place during the dramatic climate variability of the Middle Holocene. This dissertation uses the analysis of microbotanical and ground stone tool data to assess agricultural strategies, land use, and plant processing technologies at two settlements along the Lebanese littoral during this time of political and climatic upheaval. By comparing phytolith data, stone tool use-wear and microbotanical residues from grinding tools from the sites of Sidon and Tell Fadous-Kfarabida, this project reconstructs local plant and stone environments and the choices that populations were making about those resources over time. It concludes that selectivity between conservative and innovative plant management technologies allowed these settlements to maintain small-scale local networks built into the landscape and to participate with, while resisting incorporation into, growing urban and state economies nearby.